What is automated screening in recruitment?

Viktor Nordmark
21 September, 2021

Whether you’re a newly graduated HR student or an experienced HR manager, it’s safe to say that the digitalization of recruitment is coming in fast, and you better be there for it. Not only to stay ahead of competitors in terms of finding new ways of reducing bias and better financial results. One step in the hiring process, namely screening, is one of the most tedious and time-consuming steps because you, single-handedly, have to skim through a large number of resumes. So, when we say that the manual screening days are over, how do you feel about it?

Screening of the past

You have heaps and heaps of cover letters and resumes on your desk, but a very short time-to-hire. You start to read them through thoroughly only to quickly realize that there’s no chance that you’ll;

  1. Have a decent chance of identifying the best viable candidates based on their past experiences only

2.  Be able to read through all of them as thoroughly as you should

With hundreds of applications at hand, speed-reading is your only viable option. This practice is as common as it is improper when dealing with something as important as people's livelihood and careers. Due to the lack of time, it can be difficult to keep other vital parameters in mind (apart from skills and education), such as how this person would fit in with the company’s diversity goals.

Today, there are not many HR departments that don’t make use of any digital tools to support their hiring processes. Humans can no longer keep up with how many we have become. Many recruiters receive thousands of job applications per position, especially on entry-level and for unqualified jobs. It’s impossible to give every applicant the time needed to be able to provide a just judgment of their resumes and cover letters.

These challenges all boil down to one thing; recruiters need digital support to execute their tasks. Mainly because digitalizing your workflow enables you to focus on the tasks that machines can not do, namely meeting people. It also lets you have a bird’ view of the whole hiring process from job advertisement to signing since it gives you the time to do so. Therefore you can alter and heighten processes where you see necessary.  

As far as screening is concerned, there are tools that can ease this process immensely.

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Automated screening of candidate’s resumes

Just as an applicant tracking system (ATS) relieves you from having to keep thousands upon thousands of people in your own head, an automated screening tool relieves you from having to go through all of those applicants’ resumes. Due to the speedy advancement of the technology behind machine learning, we can already talk about old and new generations of automated screening tools today. Where the former version of automated screening is CV-parsing.

What the automated screening tool does is what you would’ve done, but faster. It reads through the resumes and looks for specific criteria that you’ve taught it to look for. These tools are artificial intelligence that knows what to look for and why a person is more suitable than another.

How do they know that?

Well, you have to support it with information about what you’re looking for in a candidate, such as;

  • The job
  • Education
  • Previous experiences
  • Location
  • Skills
  • Languages
  • Other criteria such as; driver’s license, other licenses, extracurricular activities

When you’ve typed down the criteria you’re looking for, the automation begins. The AI goes through all of the resumes in less than an hour. But not only that, if the tool is advanced enough, it will also generate a ranked list, listing the top ten candidates that it has deemed to be most suitable for the job. But why has it deemed those candidates more worthy than the others? The AI can also provide you with this information, e.g., it can vouch for its decision.

Screening resumes in this way is only the first step on the automated hiring journey. When you’ve found your first candidates, you can make use of automated screening interviews.

A new generation of automated screening tools

Based on the successes of the older generations of screening tools, more advanced tools came into play. Developers and recruiters alike asked the question: would the world be able to trust an AI to conduct recruitment interviews?


It turned out to be, not only a possibility but absolutely doable. Large corporations jumped on the bandwagon early on and led the way for AI-based recruitments. However, it didn’t come without a cost. For example, Amazon drove the development of an AI recruitment tool that turned out to be sexist due to the implicit bias it was programmed from. So no, an AI should probably not be allowed to be in charge of the whole hiring process just yet. But thankfully, there are many bulletproof tools that you can use starting today.

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Conversational AI platforms

Depending on what job you’re hiring for, you can either use automation tools to screen resumes, or you can jump straight into automated text-based interviews. This means that every applicant receives a link to an online interview in chat format, and the AI interviews the candidates. The premise is the same, the AI conducts the interviews and gives you a ranked list of the most valid candidates. Using an interview tool can speed up the process even faster because you learn more about the candidate in one go.

For example, Hubert is a conversational AI. Meaning it’s a tool based on natural language processing that can read, process, and understand human communication in text form. We’ve already mentioned the time-saving aspect as a perk but another perk is that automated tools, if programmed right, are less biased than humans. When you use a tool like this you can completely disregard common discriminatory factors such as name, age, sex, and nationality. Because the tool focuses solely on the resume’s contents, you can block it from taking certain information into account in its decision.

Although less frequently used due to its’ newborn nature, a second example is the AI video interviewer. The AI analyzes the applicant’s body language, use of words, and facial expressions and gives you a full-fledged report of its analysis of the person.

It may seem a bit frightening to trust a machine to make hiring decisions for you, but remember that it doesn’t entirely. See it more as a supporting tool, but remember that you’re in control and that you have the last say.

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Viktor Nordmark
21 September, 2021

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